A New Jersey company says Saddam Hussein and his son-in-law tried to pull the old switcheroo trick on it, and is demanding that the Iraqi dictator's government pay up - or else.
Consarc Corp. asked a federal judge last week to issue a $66.5 million default judgment against the Iraqis for allegedly defrauding the company and the U.S. government in a shipping deal.Consarc, which produces and exports high-tech furnaces, filed a lawsuit in November, charging that Iraq deceived the company in its contract to have four furnaces imported from the United States by misrepresenting the purposes for which the equipment would be used.
Iraqi officials told Consarc that the furnaces would be used by their government's Ministry of Industry and Minerals - but the company later discovered that no such agency existed within Iraq's government, and the equipment was actually to be used by its Ministry of Industry and Military Industrialization, which is headed by Saddam Hussein's son-in-law.
Before Iraq's Aug. 2 invasion of Kuwait, President Bush banned shipment of the four furnaces because they "had the potential to contribute to Iraq's nuclear capability."
Consarc, located in Rancocas, N.J., with a subsidiary in Scotland, is seeking to receive payment from Iraqi funds deposited in the United States.
Consarc President Raymond Roberts said the company asked U.S. District Judge Stanley Sporkin for a default judgment because the Iraqi government has failed to respond to the lawsuit.